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High Genetic Diversity And Mixing Of Coastal Horseshoe Crabs (Tachypleus Gigas) Across Major Habitats In Sundaland, Indonesia

Naila Khuril Aini, Yusli Wardiatno, Hefni Effendi, Ali Mashar, Hawis Madduppa

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Species with limited dispersal abilities are often composed of highly genetically structured populations across small geographic ranges. This study aimed to investigate the haplotype diversity and genetic connectivity of the coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas) in Indonesia. To achieve this, we collected a total of 91 samples from six main T. gigas habitats: Bintan, Balikpapan, Demak, Madura, Subang, and Ujung Kulon. The samples were amplified using primers for mitochondrial (mt) AT-rich region DNA sequences. The results showed 34 haplotypes, including seven shared and 22 unique haplotypes, across all localities. The pairwise genetic differentiation (FST) values were low (0 to 0.13) and not significantly different (p > 0.05), except among samples from Ujung Kulon-Madura and Kulon-Subang (p < 0.05). Additionally, the 34 analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed the most variation within populations (95.23%) compared to less among populations (4.77%). The haplotype network showed evidence of shared haplotypes between populations. Tajima’s D and Fu’s FS test values indicated a population expansion. Our results showed a low level of differentiation, suggesting a single stock and high connectivity. Therefore, a regionally-based conservation strategy is recommended for the coastal horseshoe crab in Indonesia.